Category Archives: tv

Eve no Jikan

"What do you think of me?"

A friend of mine’s always sending me information about new animes, from the start of this year he’s been up to the day on all the new tv series coming out in Japan. It appears there’s some very cool stuff coming out.

This week he told me about Eve no Jikan which is a web original series that just started coming out in Japan and is currently doing the fansub rounds. (Really hoping to see this hit DVD eventually.)

What catches my attention about this series is that it’s specifically about the relationship between human and machine. Like other personal favorites (Battlestar Galactica, Denno Coil), it contemplates what it means to be human and the nature of consciousness as it relates to man and machine. If machines become self aware, can we really consider them property any more? Can we say we have souls and they don’t when they show the same signs of self-reflection as we do?

What I like most about these kinds of stories is that in contrast to stories like The Matrix, there isn’t an instant supposition that the machines are out to destroy or subjugate us. It’s not just about man and machine coexisting either, but about whether we can benefit one another at a social and (for those that believe in the soul) perhaps spiritual level.

I’m interested to see where they co with Eve no Jikan. It appears that the Japanese tend to provide more space in their popular stories for machines to have a social and spiritual aspect. I’ve heard it suggested that this comes out of shinto belief, where all things have spirits tied to them. In such an environment, it’s only natural that everything from hearth to home to automobile to computer have a spirit of some kind. And if they have spirits, why should they not love, trust, hate, doubt, fear, and overcome the same as us?

In the end the machine is another expression of the other, of anything that isn’t us or isn’t like us. It strikes me as interesting that in American culture, where supposedly we welcome all (or we claimed to as a culture in times past) we have a tendency to write stories where the other is just evil, no discussion needed. Then we look at Japanese culture which is supposedly so strongly conformist and see a tendency to write stories where the other as good or ambivalent as we are and wants to be understood for what it is.

The other is asking us, “what do you think of me?”


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Writer’s strike continues

Some quick coverage…

Now without further ado, check out United Hollywood for more information on the strike (check out the intro vids on the right side). If you’re feeling especially gracious, check out Pencils2MediaMoguls and send pencils to the big 6 media moguls as a symbol of your support for the writers getting fair compensation for the content they create.

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QotD: WGA Strike

Film & TV writers are on strike, which means everything except reality TV could halt production.  Do you support the strike?  Are any of your favorite shows in jeopardy?

You’d be surprised how many writers work on reality TV shows. In fact, a significant number of those striking are writers that work on reality shows and a significant part of the WGA’s negotiations are tied to compensation for reality show writers.

It’s been great to see the solidarity among show runners and writers. Jon Stewart took time on Thursday’s Daily Show to announce they’d be off the air for the strike and is paying the salaries of Daily Show and Colbert Report writers for a couple weeks, the performers on The Office are refusing to cross picket lines, Julia Louise Dreyfuss walked off the set of “New Adventures of Old Christine” and joined the picket line, Tim Kring refused to do a weekend rewrite pre-strike that would put a season ending on the last script that’s ready to go on Heroes and has supposedly been removed from the project.

It’s quite possible that all of my favorite shows will be hit hard by the strike, but I’m less concerned about losing my current favorites than being sure that writers big and small are able to enjoy the financial fruits of their labors. Some say (meaning Fox News) that the writers are a bunch of whining rich people who want more money… they apparently don’t know any of the thousands writers depend on residuals to put food on the table.

While I hope the strike is short, it’s more important to me that writers start getting residuals on digital distribution and get a sane percentage for DVD residuals. Given the contribution they make, .002% in DVD residuals an 0% on digital is shameful.

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This birthday brought to you by… Veronica Mars

Today more people have remembered my birthday and called, texted, or IMed than have in any given year. I haven’t heard from my family yet, but that’s just a question of time… which reminds me… need to call my Dad.

Anyway, the one to blame for many folks remembering my birthday is none other than Veronica Mars.

VM postcardTo honor the spunky sleuth, I’m posting a postcard one of my friends from work sent through a German postcard site (everybody send some love).

So how did Veronica Mars help my friends remember my birthday this year?

Elementary my dear Wallace. The season premier is on my birthday this year. I thought that was cool, so I mentioned it to my VM friends, and since the date was already special to them, it was simple to remember.

Here’s hopin’ that Roni gets a fourth season and the CW decides to move her to Wednesday next year.

Either way, once the day’s activities are done, I’ll be spending a special evening with my favorite PI.

Thanks to everybody who sent their birthday best wishes, whether Veronica had anything to do with it or not.

And sorry to everybody whose birthdays I’ve missed over the past year (even missed my roommate’s). I promise that if you can get one of my favorite TV shows scheduled to start its season on your birthday, I’ll remember to call.

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So off the wagon

Veronica Mars season 2 came last night.

I thought I’d put off watching the second season. I thought I was over it, that I could stop with the VM anytime I wanted.

Boy was I wrong.

At least I’m able to keep things down to about an ep and a half a day.

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Nobody’s Watching

Ran across this today thanks to a mention in KCRW’s The Business podcast. It’s a pilot that WB decided not to pick up and has been finding popularity on YouTube, enough popularity that NBC is going to put it on the air. Curious what this may mean for the future. Could the networks actually use YouTube and GoogleVideo to their benefit, as a means to test the waters with potential viewers?

Oh, BSG fans should recognize a familiar face. Go Billy!

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Machine souls

Digging through old blog posts I’ve got elsewhere, I found this little tidbit…

Chief Tyrol and Lieutenant Valeri shara a dramatic momentThough I didn’t make it a priority when it first hit, the new Battlestar Galactica series has had my attention since last spring. Being a latecomer to Firefly, and having decided to try and catch some of the Buffy episodes I’d missed on DVD, I already had plenty of tv to fill any time I felt like devoting.

I enjoy BSG at a general level, but one very specific thing impressed me from the start: the series’ narrative allows the Cylons (the androids that looked like chrome toasters in the original series) their reasons for fighting against the Colonials (the humans looking for earth) and allows them their beliefs about what they’re doing. The structure More and Eick have chosen for conveying the story gives viewers a look at the Cylons’ “side” of things, and their activities when “unobserved” by the Colonials suggests that their belief that they’re doing the work of god is sincere.
[At the time I wrote this, 6 was the primary speaker for the Cylons, Leobon was the only other self-aware (non sleeper) Cylon that had really spoken. Since finishing Season 2, I’d only qualify it with a “some Cylons’ belief is sincere.”]

I find this refreshing in contrast to the treatment of the machines in the earlier parts of the Matrix series. [Early because I never watched Matrix Revolutions, so I can’t speak to later revelations on the machines. So I’m specifically speaking from having seen The Matrix, The Animatrix, and Matrix Reloaded.] To be fair, it’s a question of where the viewer’s placed as the story’s told. The audience is led to identify with the humans and in the original Matrix film, never leaves the psychological perspective of the human characters, where BSG allows the viewer to experience both subjectivities, if only briefly on the Cylon side.
[Since I wrote this we got to stretch around in 6’s head for a bit, so a little less on the “if only briefly.” Excellent television.]

The Animatrix provides further insight into what led to The Matrix continuity’s human-machine war in the history segments (The Second Renaissance). These sections aren’t entirely unsympathetic to the raw deal the machines got from humanity, but even with its sympathies, the story is again told from the human’s side. Matriculation‘s “machine rescue” story provides the best look into machine subjectivity, but again we run into subjectivity problems in the final depiction. We see problems with humanity in the way the “rescuers” are happy to use human friendship, romance, and sexuality to coax the machines into switching sides, but unwilling to extend actual friendship, love, or sexual contact. Problem is, in the end the depiction leads us to sympathize with the rescuing woman’s horror at a machine wanting to be romantically involved with her. The machine is depicted in a form that’s just too alien for viewers to fully empathize.

So I find the BSG approach a refreshing change. The machines may be at least partly right. Right or wrong, it recognizes to some degree that “you can’t play god and then wash your hands of the things you’ve created.” It also doesn’t make the too frequent assumption in sci fi that machines can’t possibly have any claim to spirituality because they’re not biological creatures like us, as if biology were the key to the soul.

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